Conflict is like cancer - hoping it will go away can be fatal!
Wherever two or more are gathered together, there will be conflict!

Did you know that:
  • 20% to 25% of all churches face active conflict today? It's a question of when, not if...
  • 84% of pastors have experienced destructive church conflict?
  • Pastors respond with anger (51%), defensiveness (51%), feeling overwhelmed (34%), and shock (34%)?
  • Only 21% pastors felt confident they could handle the conflict?
The outcomes are grim:
  • 68% report damaged or destroyed relationships;
  • 58% report a general sense of sadness;
  • 32% report significant declines in attendance; and
  • 32% report leaders leaving the church.
Source: "Managing Church Conflict: The Source, Pastors Reactions, & Its Effects." Christianity Today   2004. These numbers were confirmed in 2005 and 2008.

Some Troubling Data

Of 1050 pastors surveyed:
  • 100% knew someone who left ministry due to burnout, conflict, or moral failure.
  • 90% were chronically fatigued and worn out.
  • 89% considered leaving ministry
  • 57% would leave now if they had a better place to go.
  • 77% felt they did not have a good marriage.
  • 72% only studied their bibles when prepping to teach or preach.
  • 71% said they were depressed and burned out.
  • 30% were either having an affair or had had one.
(Source: Francis Schaeffer Institute of Church Leadership)

It gets worse:
  • 1500 pastors leave each month due to burnout, moral failure, and contention in the church.
  • 50% of pastor marriages end in divorce.
  • 80% feel unqualified and discouraged.
  • 50% would leave ministry if they could but have no other way of making a living.
(Source: Barna group)

And this:
  • 35% of church conflicts are identified as being between the congregation and the pastor from the outset. (If the literature and experience are indicators, almost all church conflicts will eventually focus on the pastor.)
(Source: Duke University, American Congregations at the Beginning of the 21st Century, 17.

I don't make these numbers up. If I did, we wouldn't make them that bad.

The issue of church conflict is not if; it is when!

The key to success is knowing what to do and when to do it!

Church Conflict Management is Specialized Ministry
It is almost impossible to manage strong conflict from the inside. No matter what your position, tenure, or prestige, insiders are always suspected of taking sides. If you are the pastor, you are automatically suspected by most of harboring one position or another, and the moment you do take sides you have lost everyone in the opposition. If the conflict escalates, you become the target. More than 70 percent of all pastors will resign at least once as the result of church conflict.
Second, it is impossible to keep your emotional reactions from influencing your thinking and actions. You have a vested interest in the outcome, and everyone knows it. You cannot be a true neutral while defending your own positions.
Third, it is extremely difficult to see your contribution to the problem. You may have had the best of intentions, but intentions rarely count.
Finally, you are not trained in conflict management. Effective conflict interventionists have years of training and experience. It's what we do and who we are.
Why Church Fights Are So Damaging!
First, we ignore the conflict, hoping it will go away. It doesn't.

Then we try to placate each other. It doesn't work.

Then it spirals out of control and it is too late!

Pastors and lay leaders rarely are trained in conflict management, intervention, or mediation skills. We also have a culture of faking all is well when everything is going wrong, which leads us to hide from the growing fight.

Avoiding it makes it worse.

When it turns from issues to people, it quickly becomes personal - and vicious, and the negative effects can last for decades - if the church survives.
Initial consultations are always free!